After a dreary cold winter, it is so nice to enjoy our Southern Spring before the heat of summer sets in. When the weather is beautiful we want to share it with our pets, but we need to do so safely. Unseen threats are all around us including disease, parasites, chemical pesticides and fertilizers and other environmental nasties, not to mention other people’s pets.
Everyone knows dogs and cats need year-round heartworm and flea prevention in the South, because we are never truly mosquito- or flea-free. But did you know ferrets ALSO need protection year-round? We offer an oral heartworm-only preventative that is incredibly inexpensive and will protect your ferret from contracting these deadly parasites. We recommend Advantage Multi for Cats 5.1-9# as it is FDA approved for prevention of both heartworms AND fleas, which transmit tapeworms as well as being irritating and potentially deadly if infestation becomes serious enough to cause anemia. We are thrilled to offer Parasedge Multi for Cats 5.1-9# which is a generic version of the Advantage Multi at a lower cost, and is also recently approved for use in ferrets! There’s no reason for your pet to go unprotected, so reach out if you want to get your pet ready for warm weather.
While rabbits, chinchillas, and guinea pigs can benefit from natural sunlight, you need to ensure they are constantly supervised as they can rapidly overheat and there is risk of predation by wandering dogs, cats, or even birds of prey. Be aware of the area in which they are permitted to roam, making sure if they are eating grass that it is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as well as physical hazards like screws, nails, anthills, wasp nests, etc.
Rabbits MUST be vaccinated to protect them against RHDV-2, a fatal virus that is very hardy in the environment and may be in your yard. To be safe, you should get your rabbit’s initial vaccine, a booster in 3-4 weeks, and then wait 2 weeks for complete efficacy. Your rabbit will receive an annual booster for continued protection.
Backyard chickens are wonderful for companionship, pest control, and fresh eggs, but always make sure they have a safe enclosure to evade predators and provide protection from excessive heat, cold, and weather. Check their foraging area often to make sure there are no screws, nails, rocks of a size that could be ingested, or other dangers. Other pet birds should be kept in secure enclosures with mosquito-proof screen or netting as well as proper ventilation and a shady side to escape excessive heat. They should not be left unattended, as predators are a threat from both ground and sky.
Reptiles also enjoy basking in the sun, and your pet lizard should be protected by a safe enclosure that permits the direct sunlight to reach them but keeps predators out. Make sure they have a shady area to get out of the heat should they feel too warm, and make sure to keep a clean water source readily accessible so they can drink or soak as they please. Ants can be a huge concern, so placing the enclosure on a towel, porch, or table will help prevent little biters from harassing your pet.
If your pet is showing any signs of lethargy or is unable to move away from dangerous or uncomfortable situations they should not be outside, but should see a qualified exotics veterinarian as soon as possible. Spring is a great time for a first or annual checkup. Let’s make sure your pet is ready for the change of seasons, and that you are ready to help them enjoy it to the fullest!
Our exotic animal hospital is dedicated exclusively to the care of birds, exotic small mammals, reptiles, and even fish! We can offer everything your pet needs for a healthy and happy life, from wellness care and grooming to diagnostics and dentistry, but we can also provide emergency care during our opening hours, along with more specialized treatment for referred patients.